Elimination of the Clean Power Plan and numerous energy conservation programs were among the features announced March 17 by the White House in presenting its 2018 budget blueprint, entitled “American First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”
Below are some excerpts, by department or agency, that will be of interest to ABRA Update readers. Budget reductions noted are based on comparisons with the 2017 Federal Budget. (Emphasis added for certain key provisions).
Department of Agriculture (21% reduction)
- Reduces funding for lower priority activities in the National Forest System, such as major new Federal land acquisition; instead, the Budget focuses on maintaining existing forests and grasslands.
Department of Energy (non-nuclear programs reduced by 18%)
- Focuses funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and the Fossil Energy Research and Development program on limited, early-stage applied energy research and development activities where the Federal role is stronger. In addition, the Budget eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program to reduce Federal intervention in State-level energy policy and implementation. Collectively, these changes achieve a savings of approximately $2 billion from the 2017 annualized CR level.
Environmental Protection Agency (31% reduction)
- Discontinues funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts—saving over $100 million for the American taxpayer compared to 2017 annualized CR levels. Consistent with the President’s America First Energy Plan, the Budget reorients EPA’s air program to protect the air we breathe without unduly burdening the American economy.
- Eliminates funding for specific regional efforts such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay, and other geographic programs. These geographic program eliminations are $427 million lower than the 2017 annualized CR levels. The Budget returns the responsibility for funding local environmental efforts and programs to State and local entities, allowing EPA to focus on its highest national priorities.
- Avoids duplication by concentrating EPA’s enforcement of environmental protection violations on programs that are not delegated to States, while providing oversight to maintain consistency and assistance across State, local, and tribal programs. This reduces EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance budget to $419 million, which is $129 million below the 2017 annualized CR level.
Corp of Engineers (16% reduction)